The International Space Station as Captured with the Nikon P900’s Monster Zoom

Feb 9, 2016

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

The International Space Station as Captured with the Nikon P900’s Monster Zoom

Feb 9, 2016

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

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P900-ISS-Crop

Shortly after its announcement I read a review of the Nikon P900 super-zoom bridge camera, where the author excitedly said it can be used to shoot objects as far as ten miles away.

Judging by this photo of the International Space Station, captured by Naftali Maimon, I’m happy to say the P900’s 83x 2000mm-equivalent zoom is also capable of snapping photos of objects 250 miles away.

That’s right, this photo was captured with a $597 bridge camera!

Naftali’s interest in celestial objects is no surprise, considering he’s a veteran fighter pilot in the Israeli Air Force, but I doubt even he expected such an impressive result.

“The first challenge,” Naftali told DIYP, “was focusing; automatic focus obviously wouldn’t work, so I focused manually on the moon (the range is different but seemed good enough)”.

His next challenge was to track the ISS while fully zoomed (to avoid changing the focus). This is no easy feat with such a crazy zoom and a tiny moving object, and Naftali says he practiced on locating stars for several minutes before space station’s pass in order to do so.

The image above, captured with the camera’s maximum optical zoom, was achieved after massively cropping the original photo and applying some work in post.

Below is the original image:

P900-ISS

Naftali was able to crop the ISS so tightly thanks to the P900’s 16MP sensor, though the camera’s 332x (8000mm-equivalent) digital zoom would allow for a somewhat similar result SOOC.

Obviously this photo won’t be winning any astrophotography contests, but it is absolutely mind-blowing that such a cheap camera can capture a structure the size of a football field cruising through space at 27,600 kilometers per hour at an orbital height of 400 kilometers.

Speaking of football fields, another amazing fact is that this photo is better than the widely ridiculed photo Apple CEO Tim Cook posted from Super Bowl 50.

A higher-end solution for capturing a detailed shot of the ISS would be Canon’s monstrous 1200mm lens, but the higher quality comes at the expense of a significantly shorter focal length. Oh, and $180,000…

Until someone comes out with a camera that is able to record video at the insane zoom of the cropped image above, we’ll have to settle for this awesome video footage of the moon captured by a another P900 user, zooming in from landscape photography to astrophotography in a matter of seconds.

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Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

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29 responses to “The International Space Station as Captured with the Nikon P900’s Monster Zoom”

  1. Douglas Smith Avatar
    Douglas Smith

    damn…

  2. Michael Dornieden Avatar
    Michael Dornieden

    A telescope for about the half of the Money will do that also…

    1. Douglas Smith Avatar
      Douglas Smith

      But take a picture with that telescope without spending more money. A compact camera that can photograph in fairly decent detail from that distance? Knock it all you want. Its damn impressive

    2. Michael Dornieden Avatar
      Michael Dornieden

      For sure, its impressive.

    3. Beelzebubba Avatar
      Beelzebubba

      This IS a telescope. One that takes pictures.

  3. Dave Johnson Avatar
    Dave Johnson

    seems worthwhile…

  4. Kripichan Bautista Avatar
    Kripichan Bautista

    but can it beat the ’95-’96 Bulls?

    hahhaaha

  5. Allen Sumner Avatar
    Allen Sumner

    I was able to see Jupiter and 4 of it moons with my P900. Granted they were dots of light but still impressive.

    1. Theo Kyrillidis Avatar
      Theo Kyrillidis

      I did the same with a Canon SX30 it only has a 35X zoom. The shot I’m most proud of is this one of the moon. I can only imagine what your 83X is capable of.

    2. Allen Sumner Avatar
      Allen Sumner

      I had the SX50 before I got my P900 . I loved it, the 50X zoom was great. Here is the photo of Jupiter I got, like I said it and the moons are just dots of light, but it was still amazing as I zoomed in and the 4 moons appeared.

  6. Jason Troughton Avatar
    Jason Troughton

    Give it 10-15 years and that shot will be crystal clear.

  7. TheInconvenientRuth Avatar
    TheInconvenientRuth

    If the P900 was 24mp-ish and would shoot RAW, I’d actually buy one…

    1. Bovski Avatar
      Bovski

      Really ? Why do you need 24MP do you have a large format printer?

      http://design215.com/toolbox/megapixels.php

      1. Jim w. Avatar
        Jim w.

        Exactly !! or even a monitor that can display that res !!

        1. Bovski Avatar
          Bovski

          8K monitor will display 24MP

  8. Eduardo Il Magnifico Avatar
    Eduardo Il Magnifico

    Nick Saunders – remember that camera that got the video of the moon – now it’s taken this shot!

    1. Nick Saunders Avatar
      Nick Saunders

      that thing is insane

  9. vlad Avatar
    vlad

    what is that? …a Nikon?! ….let’s check that pic out! :))

  10. Bob Johnston Avatar
    Bob Johnston

    “crop the ISS so tightly thanks to the P900’s 16MP sensor, ” Actually am disappointed in the image. It appears to be a handheld shot, believe using a tripod would get a better image. Will have to see if the station is visible from our yard. Have captured razor sharp images of the Moon in Daylight even with a 300mm Nikon Lens, at night it should be better, with RAW. Doubt the space station is as far away. Yes, it is smaller, but details on the moon are also smaller than the space station, will have to blow one up to see what it looks like…. My images are also from a 10MP sensor…

    1. Gadi Eidelheit Avatar
      Gadi Eidelheit

      Using 1/800 or 1/1600 a tripod does not matter at all. The station is visble frrom you yard if you are living lower then 60 deg so try with your own equipmenet. Surly an L lens will have better sharpness and 600mm will do a good job on the ISS.

    2. Bovski Avatar
      Bovski

      There is distortion in the air this is why stars twinkle. It doesn’t matter how steady you hold your camera seeing needs to be good to get a good shot.

  11. Brian Freeman Avatar
    Brian Freeman

    At last, maybe someone can finally get some shots of UFOs that aren’t blurred. :-)

  12. Gadi Eidelheit Avatar
    Gadi Eidelheit

    Cool! I have one as well., the zoom was on Jupiter as the moon was under the horizon

  13. CA Avatar
    CA

    Wow – the ISS! It sure looks like a balloon – unless the P900 is lying… It’s a balloon!

  14. David Smith Avatar
    David Smith

    Funny how crystal clear the moon is with the p900 at 1000 times the distance of the international FAKE station .. Lmao

    1. Jim w. Avatar
      Jim w.

      Exactly what I said. Thank you

  15. Jim w. Avatar
    Jim w.

    ABSOLUTE LIE !!!!! Of course it was taken by an Israeli Howcome I can take a perfect pic of the moon, which is (supposedly) 238000 miles away and this pic is wayyyyy closer that that!! Its because the ISS does NOT exist!!!

    1. Bovski Avatar
      Bovski

      The moon is considerably larger.