I had a recent trip to Kalbarri National Park (Southern Hemisphere) and tested out some tracking with the Move Shoot Move SIFO rotator described in the last post.  The alignment process was:

  • Setup tripod
  • Angle the ball head to the correct angle (the face of the ball head was 90 degrees less the latitude angle)
  • Using a magnetic compass, point the ball head south and adjusted for the declination of the location (about 1 degree the location, so it was effectively pointing it south)
  • Mount the MSM SIFO rotator on the tripod (the reason why I do this after I align the tripod is due to the motor in the unit that creates magnetic interference).
  • Activate the star tracking mode
  • Test image

Certainly not perfect in terms of a process for alignment, but it seems to work for me most of the time.  The files below are not edited – straight RAW files converted to DNG (or jpg for the purpose of the article).

ISO 800 15mm F3.2 201s – tracked with MSM SIFO

DNG file link

Next file is somewhat noisier on colour noise – I should probably have lowered the ISO, but I wanted to experiment with a much narrower aperture as well.

ISO 1600 15mm F5.6 318s – tracked with MSM SIFO

DNG file link

I also used a panorama head on a ball head on the MSM SIFO, however, the second ball head that I used was a fairly cheap one and wasn’t up to the task of holding the pano head and the camera as well in this instance.  It’s the weakest link that will let you down.