If astrophotography is your pursuit, then it may not be fulfilled without the best camera for astrophotography.
Astrophotography is all about taking pictures and recording photos of astronomical objects, celestial events, night time landscapes and the solar system. It has the ability to capture images that are not visible to the human eye, such as the Milky way portraits. It includes recording the details of extended objects such as the Moon, Sun and planets. The web is full of images that can be classified as astrophotography. Don’t worry you can also click those type of pictures and flaunt with pride.
Astrophotography is divided in two styles. There are long exposure shots and there are short exposure shots. The long exposure shots comprise of stars streaking across the sky in a dizzying array of circles whereas short exposure shots are more traditional photos of the Milky Way. For either one, you are going to need a good camera.
Capturing such images is a slow and steady business and requires a lot of patience. But you can master the skill of astrophotography with time.
Finding Your Best DSLR Camera for Astrophotography
To support astrophotography there are numerous types of cameras available in the market, but choosing a specific camera to spend your valued money on, can be tough decision to make.
Beginners mostly choose a DSLR camera that is cost effective and versatile. With a DSLR you can easily capture deep-sky astrophotography.
Let’s evaluate the 5 best cameras for astrophotography and discuss their pros and cons.
Canon EOS 6D Mark II Digital SLR Camera
The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is a deep space astrophotography camera for beginners. You can easily capture nightscapes and the northern lights using this magnificent camera.
This full frame camera is not only good for astronomy photography but you can also capture the milky way with it. It has an articulating touchscreen and excels in both speed and performance. It is an improved version of its predecessor and has an upgraded autofocus system that enhances the image quality.
The 26.2 Megapixel camera is slightly larger than the normal DSLR camera but it is packed with a whole lot of smart features. The vary-angle rear touch-screen is an exceptional feature that enhances the Live View mode.
The camera has one SD card slot and has rounded contours and an efficient button layout. The Canon EOS 6D Mark II has a fascinating resolution with a simpler contrast and an autofocus system. It has an optical viewfinder with a 450 point All Cross-type AF system which helps enhance object recognition and focus tracking to assume subject movement across the frame.
It can shoot at 6.5 frames per second and can capture up to 150 JPEGs.
- Great image quality.
- Vary-angle touchscreen.
- Fast Dual Pixel Live view
- Sold build
- Only one card slot.
Sony A7 III Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera
Sony has always excelled in producing excellent cameras for its fans. Sony A7 III is one of a kind camera that can be included in the list of astro imaging cameras. It captures excellent images in low light with a full frame sensor.
The specifications of the Sony A7 III make it an all-rounder camera. It is known for its fast speed action and video expertise. It produces high resolution images. For capturing night sky and milky way portraits you can accompany it with an astrophotography telescope.
It has an advanced 24.2MP BSI full frame image sensor that reduces excellent resolution. It has a back- illuminated design that improves light gathering. Sony A7 III consists of high quality 4K video and impressive 10fps continuous shooting speed. It has a high ISO performance and an improved noise.
Sony has incorporated the autofocus technology with a 693 phase detection AF points. It has the most powerful AF system available in any other camera. You can choose among the various modes of focus and result in classic ccd astrophotography. Sony A7 III is without any doubt the best camera for astrophotography.
- Fast speed continuous shooting.
- Amazing AF system.
- Great resolution.
- Solid build.
- Doesn’t balance large lenses.
Nikon D810A FX-format Digital SLR
Nikon is a well-known name when it comes to photography. The Nikon D810A is designed to prevent the red light only and not the IR. This results in capturing better images.
It is one of the best camera for DSLR astrophotography. It is specially designed for taking pictures of the astronomy, the solar system, the milky way and portraits of the night sky. It consists of some extraordinary astrophotography filters.
You can capture the night sky with the Nikon D810A camera that has a 36.3 MP FX-format CMOS sensor. The images result in a four times greater sensitivity to the 656nm wavelength.
It has a Virtual Exposure preview that helps you focus on night sky landscapes. It has a long Exposure M mode that enables exposures up to 900 seconds. The camera has a free downloadable software that has Astro Noise Reduction filter. It doesn’t let you compromise on the stars while eliminating pixel artifacts.
The Nikon D810A features time-lapse, interval timer and an unlimited continuous shooting.
It is the best camera for astrophotography.
- Reduced noise.
- Great shooting speed.
- Variety of filters available.
- Great focus settings.
- Heavier than others.
Nikon D750 FX-format Digital SLR Camera
Another high-resolution camera from Nikon, the D750 FX is the newest and the most advanced camera. It is a smart choice for all the astrophotography lovers, who want to capture the night sky and the stars. It is classified in the list of the best DSLR cameras for astrophotography.
Nikon D750 FX is a dull frame ISO- invariant camera. ISO invariance refers to sensor technology, that can shoot underexposed RAW frames. It doesn’t add extra noise and can capture brilliant images.
The 24.3-megapixel camera has a built in Wi-Fi connectivity and it can shoot up to 6.5 fps at full resolution. It has a Pro Video feature set that records uncompressed and compressed video. It has ISO manual control and a fast shutter speed.
The camera has a Power Aperture that gives smooth iris transitions and smooth exposure.
Overall, the Nikon D750 FX is a lightweight, compact and slim camera that has a vary angle LCD display.
- Great Focus.
- High ISO performance.
- Vary-angle screen.
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- There is no AF button.
Canon EOS REBEL T7i
This model of Canon is popular for its great image quality and fast autofocus. It is packed with great features and contribute in the learning process of photographers. For beginners, the Canon camera can be their best camera for astrophotography.
The Canon EOS REBEL T7i has easily identifiable external controls and a quick control button that lets you access settings easily. It is compact and comfortable to hold. It can be classified into one of the best astro imaging cameras for beginners.
It is a 242 Megapixel CMOS sensor camera with built in Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth. You can easily shoot from low angles or from overhead with the Canon REBEL T7i.
It provides an optical viewfinder that enables you to capture everlasting moments. You can easily upload these memorable photographs to the web with the built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
The DIGIC 7 image processor lets the camera produce high quality images even in low light. It has a vary angle touchscreen LCD which makes it easier to shoot from any angle. The touchscreen is responsive and makes it easier to change settings and choose focus points.
- Very good image quality.
- Reduced noise.
- Improved autofocus.
- Advanced connectivity.
- Good battery.
- Full featured mobile app.
- Slightly heavier than the rest.
Best Camera Lens for Astrophotography
To capture the best images, one needs the best camera lenses for astrophotography. Astrophotography cannot be successful without the right astrophotography equipment. However, a good lens is one important part of the entire equipment.
When purchasing a lens for astrophotography, there are two things you must find in it. First is a good wide-angle lens for astrophotography and second the speed of the lens. Here are some of the best lenses for astrophotography that you need to pair with your best camera for astrophotography:
This is a wide-angle lens that can be used with both FX and DX format sensor cameras. It is among the best lenses for astrophotography. Canon users can use it with an adaptor. The lens has excellent zoom capabilities that produce images that seem to be captured with binoculars on.
This lens can give a great competition to the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED. It has a high-quality wide angle zoom which gives it versatility and sharpness.
This is a popular lens among experience photographers. It captures brilliant images of the Milky Way and the solar system. It is designed for full frame cameras. There are different versions available for Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras.
The Sigma 18-35mm is a wide-angle lens that features automatic focus. It is designed for cameras that have a focal length of 27-52.5mm. There are different versions available for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sigma and Sony cameras.
It is a great value lens that is compatible with a wide variety of cameras. This lens is popular for capturing images of stars. It is one of the best wide angle lenses for astrophotography.
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Camera Settings for Astrophotography
There are certain rules that you must abide for capturing the space and the Milky way. Whether you are pursuing DSLR telescope astrophotography or simple using an astrophotography tripod, there are certain tricks and techniques you must follow.
For a basic astrophotography image, you need a good DSLR camera, a good lens and a sturdy tripod. But for extra ordinary shots, you might need extras like a remote shutter cable, an astrophotography mount and a star tracking or DSLR tracking mount. You may also need an equatorial mount for DSLR, depending on the situation.
You can set up your camera in your backyard, balcony or any outdoor space. Make sure the sky is visible from that area and you can view a constellation, a star cluster or a bright nebula.
The basic camera settings that apply for astrophotography are as follows:
- Use a fast aperture of F/2.8- F/4.
- Set the white balance setting to daylight.
- Use manual mode.
- Set the exposure length to 30 secs.
- Shoot at RAW image format.
- Use an ISO of 400-1600.
Furthermore, shooting the night sky is not as easy as it seems. Here are some tips for a successful night sky shoot:
- Use the camera delay timer or a remote.
- Use Live View on a bright star.
- Use RAW mode.
- Use a light pollution filter.
- Use a tripod or Star tracker.
- Keep an eye on the Histogram.
The above settings and tips will help you achieve your astrophotography goals. Whether portraits of constellations or capturing the solar system, with the above settings you will capture brilliant images that would make you feel proud of yourself. All you require is your best camera for astrophotography and a good lens, then you are all set to go.
Astrophotography is classified into Milky Way Panoramas, Star trails, Constellations, Night landscapes and deep sky imaging. You can capture all kinds of astrophotography with the best camera for astrophotography and a good lens.
You can choose any one of the above 5 cameras that produces results that you are aiming for. The camera should compliment your style and image conditions.
The above cameras are high-end and high-performance cameras that are capable of producing excellent images. If paired with a good lens and the right equipment, you may be able to capture amazing night landscapes and Milky Way portraits.
You may not need a very expensive camera to capture the best pictures of the night sky. The above top 5 cameras will make you capture a good landscape of the night and the constellations.
So, just grab your best camera for astrophotography from our top list and a suitable lens for it and get going.