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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25 Responses to Amazing Photo of The Moon with iPhone

  1. marcusneto August 10, 2009 at 7:05 am #

    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).

  2. David August 10, 2009 at 7:15 am #

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

  3. Thomas August 10, 2009 at 7:34 am #

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

  4. Callum Winton August 10, 2009 at 7:41 am #

    …. I can se the pub from here :oD


  5. August 10, 2009 at 8:04 am #

    how much did the telescope cost?

  6. MemoDesign August 10, 2009 at 9:42 am #

    wuooo increible :D

  7. Chase Jarvis August 10, 2009 at 11:09 am #

    @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…

  8. Anonymous August 10, 2009 at 11:27 am #

    'tap to expose/focus' feature??

  9. August 10, 2009 at 11:55 am #

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

  10. jeroennieuwhuis August 10, 2009 at 11:57 am #

    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!

  11. Fabian Pulido August 10, 2009 at 12:12 pm #

    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 !!

  12. Anna Shethar August 10, 2009 at 1:22 pm #

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

  13. Adam August 10, 2009 at 4:47 pm #

    Amazing shot Martin! Thanks for sharing Chase.

  14. SleeplessInKL August 10, 2009 at 8:24 pm #

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

  15. Downtown Imagery August 10, 2009 at 10:47 pm #

    That's pretty darn neat, and inventive

  16. Valeriy Veduta August 10, 2009 at 11:22 pm #

    I did the same with my SE phone and canon binocular

  17. Valeriy Veduta August 10, 2009 at 11:24 pm #

    Binocular with IS BTW.
    And shoot taken WITHOUT a TRIPOD

  18. hedward August 11, 2009 at 1:26 am #

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


  19. Katie Wilkins August 11, 2009 at 5:58 am #

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

  20. car blog August 11, 2009 at 6:29 am #

    Thats awesome quality for a 3.2 megapixel camera.

  21. Alex Gauthier August 11, 2009 at 6:34 am #

    @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.

  22. mooreclick August 11, 2009 at 6:37 am #

    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!

  23. Anthony August 11, 2009 at 4:37 pm #

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

  24. Lori August 16, 2009 at 5:47 pm #

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

  25. לקפוץ לאתר הזה August 6, 2014 at 8:49 am #

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