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Wednesday, 09 September 2009


The new Leica M9 should easily outresolve these.

Dammit. Going to be burning through a lot of black ink...


Thanks for drawing our attention to these awe-inspiring images and the incredible technology that produced them. Looking at these is a great reminder that we should not lose focus (no pun intended) on the power of vision itself....maybe concentrate a little less on camera specs and pay more attention instead to what is out there to see. Thanks again!

hopefully it wont fall apart like the previous attempts...I remember seeing a parody Hubble toy ad where the object was to keep it together..lol

Very large format.

"Looking at these is a great reminder that we should not lose focus (no pun intended) on the power of vision itself....maybe concentrate a little less on camera specs and pay more attention instead to what is out there to see."

Considering the Hubble's near sighted history I think they should keep their focus on the camera specs. It became a much more successful project once they did.

A very keen and pertinent observation, Catherine. Very keen indeed.

As someone who works with Hubble data, I am willing to submit a hands-on review if Mike would want that :-)

The best thing about Hubble is its image-stabilisation: 3 gyroscopes. Good job it works so well seeing as many exposures can be as long as 1 hour.

And who said CAT lenses were no good?

What do people have to say about software correction of lenses now?

Never mind all that infinite grandeur. Can we see a test chart, please?

Hubble's back. Not so sure about Leica.


Just try to imagine what's out there.............

"It's full of stars!.."

Absolutely beautiful. Our universe never ceases to amaze.

Dear Tom,

No, Catherine had it right. The "lens" specs were just fine! It was the quality of the lensmaking that was inferior. Specs are all very nice, but they don't mean a damn thing if not backed by craftsmanship.

The "camera(s)" by the way, were fine in both spec and execution.

pax / Ctein

Are those stars or noise?

The fix wasn't in software, but with supplementary optics.

The story of how that telescope was launched with a misfigured mirror is an interesting one. As I understand it, a very simple and inexpensive test (the kind an amateur astronomer would use while making their own mirror), showed a likely flaw. A very expensive test with a custom-built gadget showed a perfect mirror. Guess which test the engineers believed? But, as it turns out, the expensive testing gadget had a problem.

I'm thrilled the Hubble has had a long and productive life. I wish we had five of them.

and who still thinks that we are alone in the universe?

"Awesome" in the most literal sense.

But it does look like an early Pentax DSLR with its noise reduction turned off.

Where are the cat pictures?

I'm not impressed. How fast is its autofocus? How many frames per second can this "Hubble" shoot?

Great choice of comment to feature, Mike! This does rather put the "too expensive" discussion in perspective.

The Hubble is "too expensive" for me -- but I'm proud to contribute to funding it through tax dollars.

Kent, I'm more resigned to thinking we might be alone in the universe now than I was 40 years ago. As we get better and better instruments of various kinds, our ability to detect other civilizations goes up, and we still aren't finding them. (And I've been donating computer time to SETI@HOME since they started, too.)

Dear Kevin,

Your memory's good enough-- sloppy testing led to poor fabrication. A very classic example of the difference between 'precision' and 'accuracy.'

As for the fix, they used both. It was three and a half years before corrective optics could be installed. During that time, scientists used software to correct the residual spherical aberration very successfully.

Eventually, ALL high quality digital photograph-creation is going to involve some software "optical" correction. I won't put a date on that, but it's a sure thing. Like aspherical lens elements and high dispersion glasses, it's just one more tool in the lens designer's kit, and it's a good one.

pax / Ctein

And how close can in focus in macro mode?

Riley: Well, the ratio from closest focus to furthest object imaged is pretty good on this Hubble thing. It can focus down to a mere few million kilometers!

And does it do HDR or highlight tone priority.

Dear Riley,

Oh, about 180 light-seconds, but its depth of field is excellent!

pax / Ctein

I don't know...there's a lot of blue and red CA there, and it seems really grainy...lots of shiny dots all over. I really expected more from a full frame hubble....

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