The other day I took some pictures of the moon. I went through them and found one with a good balance of brightness and detail. After I cropped the black parts of the sky out of the image, the resulting picture was only 400×400 pixels.
Given the small size of the finished image, it might not seem very amazing, but consider that I did not use a telescope to take this picture. I took it with just my camera, steadied on the side of my car. My telephoto lens has a range of 70-300mm when used on a true 35mm camera. The CCD in mine is 23.7mm wide rather than 35mm, so the effective focal length on the lens is about 450mm. I only spent $169 on this lens, so I have to say I’m happy with it.
I would like to get a professional quality telephoto lens, but the price for a 70-200mm zoom lens that can match my camera’s original 18-70mm in quality is about $800. Prices go up exponentially from there.
I will be out there again with my tripod the next time the moon is full. I think that I can get a lot better detail if I use a longer shutter speed and a tighter aperture. If anyone has any super-telephoto lenses with a Nikon mount that they would let me borrow, let me know. 🙂