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Lens For Moon Shots...

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I have an Alpha A65 camera.  I have always been interested in taking shots of the moon, but have never quite had the experience or good enough equipment to do it.  With the A65, part of the problem is solved.  The lens that I have currently been working with is a Quantaray 100-300mm (from my Minolta Maxxim 400si days).  My most recent attempts using this lens were a HUGE improvement, as I used different f-stop settings and shutter speeds.


So, I am looking to get a 500mm lens to further improve things.  One of the lenses I am considering is a Minolta AF Reflex 500mm lens.  The others I am looking at are the Sigma 150-500mm, the Tamron SP A08 200-500mm, and the Sigma DG 50-500mm.  I am hoping that someone has had some experience with these lenses and can give me some guidance.  I think the Minolta Reflex lens would work well, but I will wait to hear some opinions.  Thanks in advance for any input.

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I made some moon shots with an old Tamron 500/8 mirror lens on full frame, with an apsc sized sensor you will have a little more reach. May be this image gives you a rough idea what ballpark 500mm will get you




These Moon phases were shot with 30 to 150 exposures each, if I remember correctly, and then stacked for more details. If you have in mind more detailed shots you need to look into telescopes with much higher focal lenghts and work on mosaics/panoramas.


I can only recommend reading up on almost all astrophotography topics at https://www.reddit.com/r/astrophotography/ .


This will give you a very good overview of different processing possibilities and the needed hardware.


Hope this helps,



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You can play around with this calculator : I guess you need 800mm+, and you will get good results. Apparently, technique is important at higher magnifications (i.e. longer focal lengths) and taking either; lots of photos and stacking, or using some special (but free) software which processes a video stream from the camera.


It could be that a good refractor telescope on EBay, + a T-Adapter, that is going to work better.

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It could be that a good refractor telescope on EBay,

+ a T-Adapter, that is going to work better.


That would work well but prolly wind up gathering

dust due to its cumbersome form factor. The 500 

Reflex lens, optically, is every bit as much a fine  

telescope as it is a camera lens. Ignore all those 

negative comments from terrestrial shooters who 

complain about "mirror lenses". Using any typical 

"heavy duty" amateur tripod, you'll get much less 

vibration using the 500 cat, and you don't need to 

stop down for DoF working at 1/4 million miles. A 

cat is immune to longitudinal color, so the whole 

spectrum will focus together on your sensor. The 

contrast of mirror optics is a bit flatter than you'd 

get from refractive lenses, but that will prove to be 

helpful for moon shots. 


Later on you can try the 500 cat for terrestrial use

and join in on all the complaining ... unless you're 

smarter than a sheep [let's say you are] and you 

adopt the appropriate adjustments for terrestrial

use of mirror optics. The bottom line is that you'd  

be using a telescope as a telescope, a maximally

suitable tool for your purpose. 




I have 3 cats, up thru 1000/11, but I gave up moon

shots an elephant's age ago. I mainly use them for 

macro lenses. Don't invest too heavily in moon gear. 

The subject never changes in the least, and lighting 

variations are limited, and keep repeating forever, 

so the pictorial potential of the subject can be quite 

quickly exhausted. 

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It's probably pretty basic for you given that you've already been shooting some moon shots, but Tony Northrop did a Youtube on the topic; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cGbbSx-Mug


What might be useful to you is the free software he uses for post, RegiStax. Here's a link to the download page: http://www.astronomie.be/registax/


Hope you find a lens you'll be happy with and good shooting.

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