This weekend there will be a super moon which I would like to shoot with a 5100. For all critical focusing needs, I use live view because I don't believe autofocus is accurate enough. When viewing the moon in live view, it shows up as only a bright light in the sky with no detail. I focus on the edge of the moon. If, however, I were able to see surface detail, which shows up quite well in the resulting picture, I believe I could get my focus sharper. Is there any way to force the diaphragm to stop down to its preset level while still viewing in live view?
If you set the aperture before turning on LiveView you will be at the preset aperture. I assume you are using aperture priority mode.
I have taken hundreds of moon photos but I don't think ever in LiveView mode. I always see lots of detail but never use a lens shorter than 400mm. If the lens has VR I also handhold. Here's a recent moon shot taken with the D800, AFS 300mm f4 and the TC 20E III, wide open.
I just center the moon in my viewfinder. The single center point is on the center of the moon. I just fire away. I'm guessing since the moon is fairly small in the viewfinder that the focus point is large enough to cover a fairly large area of the surface.
Very interresting. This picture looks positively soft compared to your first picture, which looks extra crispy. Is that due to the sun being at a more pronounced angel, thus producing more pronounced shadows, in the first picture? Or has the first pic been through post processing? All of my pix look like the second picture.
A full moon will always have less detail because there are fewer shadows. Your photos will require more post processing because of the lower contrast. My photo was not quite a full moon. You can see more detail at the bottom where there are shadows. All my moon photos require some post.
edit: Also the second photo was taken on a fairly hazy night. When I took the photo I thought my lens had fogged up but it didn't.