Nikon Coolpix 5400 Astrophotography
Intent of this page is to cover the use of the
Nikon Coolpix 5400 camera for digital astrophotography.
The Nikon Mc-Eu1 Remote Cord is an essential accessory
as are additional batteries, charger and a large memory
card. When first starting out, you may use up the battery
very fast while you keep the monitor turned on. Having
two stored settings is a very nice feature. Once you
get a setup you like for astrophotography, you can keep
it stored as "2" and keep "1" setup for normal photograpy.
Here are some basic settings for the Nikon Coolpix when doing
- Manual Mode
- White Balance: Direct Sunlight
- Sharpening: Off
- Noise Reduction: On
- Image Quality: Highest Available (RAW)
- Focus Confirmation: Off
- Continuous Focus: Off
- Focus: External Monitor or use Digital Zoom to focus (no
digital when taking photo, use maximum telephoto - optical only)
Nikon Mc-Eu1 Remote Cord
The Nikon Mc-Eu1 Remote Cord is very useful. The 5400 will not
do continuous mode exposures when using the timed release mode
(30 sec, 1, 3, 5, 10 min). However, the Mc-Eu1 has an interval mode
where it will "press" the shutter release at regular intervals
starting at 2 minutes up to 24 hours with 1 second steps (HH:MM:SS).
Set the camera up as above, set the Mc-Eu1 in mode "A" or "B". Press
the shutter release all the way. A picture every 2 minutes with a 30
second exposure will be taken until the memory card fills up or until
the remote shutter release is given a 1/2 press.
I prefer mode "B" which does not start the first photo until
interval has passed - plenty of time to attach the remote to the
telescope and all vibrations to stop (2 minutes is what I have
tried). Now, go spend the next hour or so with your other telescope
DO have two telescopes by now, right?) and do some visual observing
of the sky while the camera and telescope do the work.
Make certain you have the camera set to landscape mode (the icon that
sort of looks like a mountain range) so that the camera focus is set
at infinity. Do your focusing with the telescope, not the camera.
Use an attached TV/Monitor or you can use the digital zoom for
checking focus. I find that the digital zoom works very nice for
setting focus - just remember to go back to the maximum optical zoom
before starting to make exposures.
The photo of the moon below was focused using the digital zoom
First lunar photo, 6" meade starfinder newtonian on equatorial mount.
F/6.3, 1/125 sec., ISO-50 using fine resolution.
Image was converted to grey and reduced resolution for Web
site display. Minimal image processing done. Taken evening of October
24, 2004 from my backyard in Atlanta, GA.
October 24, 2004
Last modified on January 25, 2009
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