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Focusing Mask for astrophotography and night photography

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Focusing Mask for astrophotography and night photography



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  • Materials: optical acrylic

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Skylabs New Zealand

Skylabs New Zealand

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Skylabs Enhanced Bahtinov Focusing Mask
The Skylabs Enhanced Bahtinov masks have been optimized for camera lenses and small telescopes, in order to provide a high precision focusing tool for astrophotography and also night photography.

More information available on the official website of the product:

Focusing a camera lens in the dark represents the most challenging operation for amateurs and professional astrophotographers and night photographers. Traditional Bahtinov masks have been in use for astrophotography in relatively large aperture telescopes. This type of mask delivers a diffraction pattern, creating a set of three fine spike lines around a bright star. Once the three lines are aligned in a single spot the focus is achieved. Unfortunately, these masks are not suitable for small camera lenses and small telescopes due to the low light transmission.

The Skylabs Enhanced Bahtinov mask is based on optical level acrylic material, which offers 92% of light transmission, excellent optical characteristics, light stability and low internal stress levels for consistent performance. The CNC etched surface ensures a very accurate diffraction pattern with a minimal light obstruction. As a result, it delivers the brightest diffraction spikes for achieving an incredibly accurate focus.

This new type of Bahtinov mask is several times brighter than traditional ones, which are made of opaque materials and also have a lot of obstruction.

The Skylabs Enhanced Bahtinov masks are compatible with the most popular square filter formats (Haida, NiSi, Lee, K&F Concept, Cokin, BENRO, Formatt-Hitech, etc.), which also ensures that it can be used across multiple lens sizes.

If you don’t have a square filter holder yet, we suggest considering the 100mm option. The 85mm will give limited compatibility with bigger lenses. The 150mm format is suitable for very wide-angle and fish-eye lenses, like the popular Samyang 14mm f/2.8.

Select the size compatible with your filter holder:

- 150mm - Haida/NiSi 150mm, Lee SW150, BENRO
- 100mm - Lee 100, K&F Concept 100mm, Cokin Z-Pro, BENRO
- 85mm - Cokin P, Formatt-Hitech 85mm

The Skylabs Enhanced Bahtinov will outperform with bright lenses (low f-number) and long focal lengths. As the f-number grows, the resolution of the diffraction pattern fades out. Avoid stopping-down your lenses while you are evaluating the focus. If you are working with short focal length (<14mm) and high f/number (>2.8) consider pointing to a very bright star or a distant light bulb further than the hyperfocal distance. A torch covered with a foil and a pinhole will work.

Each order includes:
- Skylabs Enhanced Bahtinov Mask
- Quick Start Guide
Filter holder, adapter ring, camera or other elements shown in the pictures are not included.

How to use the Skylabs Enhanced Bahtinov Mask:

1. Set up the camera and lens for standard night photography
→ set manual focus.
→ set manual mode.
→ set to lowest f-number.
→ set to ISO 1600 or higher.
→ set shutter following the NPF (or 500) rule or ~15s if using sky tracker.
2. Introduce the Skylabs Enhanced Bahtinov Mask in your filter holder.
3. Point your camera to a bright star.
4. Enable the zoom in the live view mode.
5. Move the focus to align the central spike and take a shot.
→ If the image shows central spike is off to the left, the focus is too far.
→ If the central spike is off to the right, then the focus is too close.
6. Iterate step 5 until you achieve the perfect focus.
7. Lock the focus with sticky tape to ensure the focus will remain over the complete photographic session.
8. Take the mask from the filter holder.
9. Proceed to take the dark, bias and flat frames. Consider using Skylabs flat panel for generating the flat frames.

Do you want to learn more about landscape astrophotography? Get enrolled in our online training course.

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