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Moon Exposure Calculator (v1.0)

This tool for photographing the Moon will give you the estimated shutter speed required based on your ISO, aperture, weather condition, Moon location and phase.

A similar tool is available for lunar eclipses.

Weather Conditions & State of the Moon Camera Settings  
Miscellaneous Camera Information
Sensor Type : Effective MPix :
Lens Focal Length :  DX Effective Focal Length :
Field of View :
Exposure Limit :
(without tracking)  
Body : Effective MPix :
Lens Focal Length :  DX Pixel Size :
(in microns)  
Sampling :
(in arcseconds per pixel)  
Weather Conditions : 

Moon Location : 

Moon Phase : 
 until full moon
Sensitivity (ISO) : 
Lens aperture (f/Number) : 
Current Moon Phase
Suggested shutter speed : 


  • To display the suggested time exposure, select the weather conditions, the sensitivity (ISO) and the lens aperture (f/number). The time exposure will then be displayed and computed every time you modify one of those parameters.
  • The time exposures are only given as a guide. They will help you choosing a film matching your equipment and the event you are shooting. However, you should bracket your exposures one or more stops to take into account the actual sky conditions and the variable nature of these phenomena.

Tips on taking successful Moon pictures

  • Use a sturdy tripod.
  • Get a good 500mm class lens to avoid cropping to much your pictures.
  • Enable mirror lockup to minimize vibrations and use a cable release.
  • Shoot in RAW.
  • Set the white balance setting to either Daylight or Tungsten.
  • Set the aperture to a value in the f/8~f/16 range.
  • Set your lens on Manual Focus and focus for infinity.
  • A rough exposure guide would be as follows:
    Full Moon -> shutter = 1/ISO and aperture at f/16
    Gibbous Moon -> shutter = 2/ISO and aperture at f/16
    Quarter Moon -> shutter = 5/ISO and aperture at f/16
    Crescent Moon -> shutter = 10/ISO and aperture at f/16

    Exposure compensation:
    Moon high in the sky -> none
    Moon in mid sky -> +1 EV
    Moon at/near horizon -> +2 EV
    Mist or haze -> +1 to +2 EV

    Bracketing your shots 1 or 2 stops on each sides is also necessary.

Last page update on May 3, 2004.
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