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An original point of view

Astrophotography

Astrophotography with Sigma 150-600mm DG OS Contemporary and dedicated teleconverters

Moon seen through Sigma teleconverter TC-2001 Waterbeach Recreation Ground.

Pic. 6 The Moon at 1200mm focal length. Exif: 1/125s, f/13, ISO 100.

The summary of my amateur test with Sigma 150-600mm DG OS Contemporary lens and two teleconverters TC-1401 and TC-2001 includes the astrophotography section. I wanted to check this lens in terms of ability to capture the celestial objects. The fundamental difference between celestial objects and terrestrial objects is, that these first are in motion, as the Earth rotates. It means, that we cannot make long exposures without the tracker. At very long exposures such these, we have tied hands basically, because the exposure time is very restricted, even to 1 second only at 1200mm. Regardless very narrow aperture, if you have some tracker, you can still get more from the Sky. The problem, unfortunately, is not a restricted time of the exposure, but the sharpness and image resolution, which is quite poor at the maximum focal length. It’s next multipied by the teleconverter value, which makes an output images not really useful. The 3 previous articles describing both the Sigma 150-600mm DS OG HSM as well as both dedicated teleconverters described all the things, which an user can experience when using. Now I want to share with you the example images of celestial objects.

  1. Sun – the most dangerous object to capture, but definitely not require a long exposure. Bear in mind, that narrower apertures might result in a blurry edges.
    Sunset above Cambridgeshire

    Pic. 1 Sunset above Cambridgeshire. Exif: 840mm, 1/500s, f/11, ISO 320. Click to enlarge.

    Sunset above Royston seen from Maggog Hills

    Sunset above Royston, green flash

    Pic. 3, 4 – The upper edge of the setting Sun and the green flash at the bottom. Exif: 750mm, 1/200s, f/32, ISO 400, lower image cropped. The horizon at 41km distance.

  2. Moon – so easy to capture, because of its size and amount of light. You can use this kit without hesitation and get decent results.
    Moon through Sigma 150-600mm DG OS HSM COntemporary

    Pic. 4 Moon at daylight sky. Exif: 600mm, 1/500s, f/11, ISO 400. See an original image here.

    Pic. 5 The 1st quarter of Moon. Exif: 1200mm, 1/125s, f/13, ISO 1000. See an original image here.

    Moon seen through Sigma teleconverter TC-2001 Waterbeach Recreation Ground.

    Pic. 6 The Moon at 1200mm focal length. Exif: 1/125s, f/13, ISO 100. See an original image here.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ungJXHC0NGs

  3. Venus – another object easy to capture by this telephoto kit. However, it’s good when close to the inferior conjunction. Only the crescent Venus draws significant attention.
    Venus 22.05.2020 Waterbeach Recreation Ground

    Pic. 7 The Venus crescent saw on May 22. Exif: 300mm, 1/125s, f/10, ISO 450. See an original image here.

    Venus crescent 29.05.2020 Waterbeach Recreation Ground

    Pic. 8 The Venus crescent saw on May 29. Exif: 1200mm, 1/10s, f/18, ISO 125. See an original image here.

    Venus crescent 31.05.2020 Waterbeach Recreation Ground

    Pic. 9The Venus crescent saw on May 31. Exif: 1200mm, 1/10s, f/18, ISO 125. See an original image here.

  4.  Jupiter – easy to spot and easy to capture. Unfortunately, the poor image quality received from the Teleconverters attached to Sigma 150-600mm f/5 – 6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens doesn’t reveal any details at all.

    Jupiter and its moons, Sigma TC-2001 teleconverter

    Pic. 8 Jupiter with the Galileo moons saw at the 1100mm focal length. Exif: 1s, f/13, ISO 1000.

  5. Mars – another bright planet, when near the opposition. The view is similar to Jupiter. Bright object with no details on its surface.
    Mars near opposition

    Mars near opposition 2

    Pic. 9,10 The Red Planet in the opposition. Exif: (upper) 250mm, 8s, f/9, ISO 1250 (lower) 840mm and rest the same.

  6. Saturn – if you have a good tripod, the rings are easy to spot. This is only one element, which distinguishes this celestial object.

    Saturn seen through Sigma teleconverter TC-2001

    Pic. 11 Saturn at 1200mm focal length. The rings are visible, but you must have a good stabilization for it. Exif: 1s, f/13, ISO 500.

  7. Mercury – is well visible, but appears only as a dot. The detection of the planet phase can be really hard.

    Mercury and Venus conjunction May 22, 2020

    Pic. 13 Mercury (on the left) in conjunction with Venus (on the right). Exif: 800mm, 1/125s, f/12, ISO 1600. See an original image here.

  8. The Neowise comet – a spectacular comet visible in mid-2020.
    Neowise comet Sigma 150-600mm

    Pic. 13 The Neowise comet. Exif: 240mm, 3s, f/5.6, ISO 1600. See an original image here.

    Neowise comet Sigma 150-600mm 2

    Pic. 13 The Neowise comet. Exif: 400mm, 2s, f/6, ISO 800

    Neowise comet Sigma 150-600mm 3

    Pic. 14 The Neowise comet again at the morning nautical twilight sky. Exif: 600mm, 1.3s, f/8, ISO 1600.

  9. Stars – can be easily visible, but you will have unpleasant distortion around them. Remember do not shoot images with exposure longer than 1s if you don’t have the tracker.

    Capella star - astrophoto exposure length test with Sigma teleconverter TC-2001 at 1200mm

    Pic. 14 The exposure length test with the Capella star (0,12mag) and teleconverter TC-2001 mounted to Sigma 150-600mm f/5 – 6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens.

The Sigma 150-600mm f/5 – 6.3 DG OS HSM with both TC-1401 and TC-2001 is not the best lens for astrophotography. You can only get decent images of the Moon, Sun, and Venus crescent. This is effectively all, that you can achieve in astrophotography with this bundle. It’s a shame. For someone, who uses the Sigma 150-600mm Sport version possibly the Jupiter and Saturn look better. If you are going to buy this telephoto bundle for stargazing, even if you have a good tracker it’s definitely not a good idea.

Mariusz Krukar

 

Links:

  1. https://everything-astro.com/2019/05/21/astrophotography-with-a-sigma-150-600mm-contemporary-lens/

Forums:

  1. https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/320104-sigma-150-600mm-for-deep-sky-widefield/
  2. Thoughts on Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens
  3. https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/576135-sigma-150-600-or-tamron-150-600/
  4. Jupiter with a Sigma 150-600mm C

Youtube:

Read also:

1. Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary – a fantastic choice for distant landscape photography
2. Teleconverter 1.4x (TC-1401) for the 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Contemporary and other Sigma lenses
3. Teleconverter 2x (TC-2001) for the 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Contemporary and other Sigma lenses

 

 

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