Amazing Photo of The Moon with iPhone

[UPDATE: Martin has chimed in with more details and original photos…all info after the jump].

After reading the headline of this post and looking at the image, you’re probably waiting for the other shoe to drop. What’s the catch? Well, there isn’t one. Yes, my pal Martin Gisborne used only an iPhone 3Gs and a telescope to get this shot. He did some slight tweaking in Aperture, but no crazy-fancy space cameras, no Photoshop, no compositing, no gimmicks. Pretty impressive. The best camera is the one that’s with you.

[By contrast, last spring I was dorking around and also shot an image thru a telescope. My results were, er… let’s say, less interesting. That image after the jump…]

Here’s my laughable shot:

Not nearly as powerful a telescope…

[And here’s Martin’s addendum, just cut and pasted from his email to me…Thanks Martin!]
…Here’s the scoop:

1) Exposure was simply controlled using tap to focus/expose.
2) The telescope was a modest 80mm William Optics Zenithstar II… only 545mm focal length. I used a 20mm Plossl eyepiece in a 2″ diagonal.
3) The iPhone was handheld – which was the most challenging part… getting the lens in alignment over the eyepiece without moving the scope.
4) The size of the moon in the frame came from using the 20mm eyepiece on the telescope.

This is the original frame from my iPhone… you can see that it’s not BAD exactly as it is:

This is the image cropped in Aperture:

This is the cropped image with Levels applied:

This is with Definition applied:

And, lastly, this is with Edge Sharpen applied, no external plug ins used:

[Thx again for the play by play, Martin.]

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Hi friends, its wonderful paragraph about teachingand entirely explained,
keep it up all the time.

Lori says:

This shot is amazing. You can actually see the topography in the lower right hand quadrant – peaks and ridges. Incredible!!

Anthony says:

Wow, thats pretty impressive. I should really start utilizing that camera, since it is always with me!

mooreclick says:

I've been wanting to bust out my Dad's telescope and take some shots, but thought I'd need special equipment to do it.

Now I'm inclined to just get it out and see what happens. Thanks Chase!

@anonymous- The iPhone 3GS allows you to tap on the screen a location in the frame you want the camera to be the point of focus. It also meters the light on that location and uses it to choose the exposure settings.

car blog says:

Thats awesome quality for a 3.2 megapixel camera.

Love it, and yes, I was in disbelief at first. Kudos to your friend, and your tractor wasn't bad either :)

hedward says:

That is a truly awesome shot!
I'd be happy to get that using my DSLR.


Binocular with IS BTW.
And shoot taken WITHOUT a TRIPOD

That's pretty darn neat, and inventive

beautiful shot. i am, however, most curious to see the straight out of camera (SOOC) shot :)

Adam says:

Amazing shot Martin! Thanks for sharing Chase.

Anna Shethar says:

How did you get it so big? I've always drempt of taking a shot like that. Truly amazing.

you obtained it, well i was trying to do the same, iphone and telescope but the problem was the climate, It´s become cloudy and I could not make it, this was the unique obtained image before cloudy !!

Great picture!
Amazing what cameraphone's these days are able of!

I started a 365 days project myself, shoot every day a picture with my mobile phone and upload it to Flickr.

If you would leave a comment, that would be awesome!

Greetz, A big fan!

I'm guessing he must have strapped the iphone to the telescope somehow. Is there a iphone mechanism for that? Great shot.

Anonymous says:

'tap to expose/focus' feature??

Chase Jarvis says:

@marcusneto: martin told me he just used the 'tap to expose/focus' feature on the 3Gs and this was the exposure. makes good sense since the moon is mostly grey that it would get close on the exposure…

MemoDesign says:

wuooo increible :D

how much did the telescope cost?

…. I can se the pub from here :oD


Thomas says:

I've got a small pair of binoculars that double quite well as a tele for the iPhone;

David says:

The full moon is a full daylight exposure. It is, after all, being lit by the same sun.

marcusneto says:

How in the world did he control exposure enough to get that amount of detail. Was it through controls on the telescope? Or is there an app that I am missing on my iPhone for controlling shutter speed and aperture (if there is one on the iPhone lol).

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