Equipment

The astrophotography equipment category is a useful resource for beginners that want a better understanding of the gear needed for astrophotography.

The type of astrophotography equipment needed for each area of interest can change dramatically, but in general, a tracking mount, a camera, and a telescope/camera lens are the bare minimum.

For those that like to remain portable, and take nightscapes from dark sky locations, a star tracker is recommended. They allow you to maximize the amount of light collected through your camera and lens, and present new creative opportunities.

If you are hoping to collect detailed pictures of nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters, a more robust tracking mount and a telescope are better options.

My primary interest lies in deep-sky astrophotography of galaxies and nebulae, using a refractor telescope on a tracking equatorial telescope mount. If you’re looking for a fantastic astrophotography telescope to get started with, you can’t go wrong with the William Optics RedCat 51.

astrophotography telescope

I typically use wide-field instruments to capture large nebulae in the night sky using specialized filters, but you may be interested in other types of astrophotography including being able to photograph a planet up close.

For this type of imaging (planetary astrophotography) the equipment profile changes quite dramatically from a wide-field nebula setup. A telescope with much more focal length is recommended (2000mm) and a dedicated astronomy camera with a high frame rate.

A popular camera for solar system photography is the ZWO ASI290mm Mini, thanks to its 2.1 MP monochrome sensor. This is the camera I used to photograph Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

Useful Equipment Links

How to Travel with Astrophotography Gear

How to Travel with Astrophotography Gear

We are often asked how we fly with our astronomy gear when we travel to new locations for astrophotography. While traveling to a dark-sky site with our telescopes is exciting, it also involves a lot of planning.  Traveling with any photography equipment can be challenging, but there are some added considerations when flying with items…

Buying a Strain Wave Mount? You Have Options

Buying a Strain Wave Mount? You Have Options

If you’re new to astrophotography, an equatorial telescope mount is one of the first pieces of equipment you will need to purchase. Whether it’s a star tracker or a heavy-duty astrophotography mount capable of carrying large telescopes, tracking the night sky is essential to astrophotography. Your telescope mount is the cornerstone of your deep-sky astrophotography…

Choosing a Star Tracker for Astrophotography

Choosing a Star Tracker for Astrophotography

Updated April 22, 2024 A star tracker is a portable tracking camera mount designed for astrophotography. The device ‘tracks’ the motion of the stars to allow you to take long exposure images of space without star-trailing.  These devices are commonly used with a DSLR/Mirrorless camera and lens, or even a small astronomical telescope. Recent models…

Is A Full-Frame Camera for Astrophotography Worth It?

Is A Full-Frame Camera for Astrophotography Worth It?

A full-frame camera has a larger image sensor, which means you can capture a wider field of view through your telescope or lens. This can help you create larger astrophotos, (in terms of both image resolution in pixels, and file size). While it might seem like upgrading from a crop-sensor camera to a full-frame model…

Deep-Sky Astrophotography How-To

Deep-Sky Astrophotography How-To

While I have several videos discussing this topic of deep-sky astrophotography how-to on my YouTube channel, I realized it was time for a thorough walkthrough of my entire current process (2023) of capturing deep-sky images with a camera and telescope.  This article aims to accomplish that goal by providing a step-by-step roadmap to follow to…

$1,000 vs $10,000 Telescope for Astrophotography

$1,000 vs $10,000 Telescope for Astrophotography

Have you ever wondered what the same deep-space object would look like using two very different telescopes? I thought this was a great concept for a video (see below) and a real eye-opener for those looking into upgrading their telescope for astrophotography. For this experiment, we used two high-quality refractor telescopes that were very different…

Astrophotography | 14 Must-Know Starting Tips

Astrophotography | 14 Must-Know Starting Tips

If you’re getting started in astrophotography, I am here to save you some time and frustration by learning from the mistakes of myself and others. Whether you’re looking into a full-blown deep-sky camera and telescope setup, or just getting started with a DSLR and tripod, I think this article will come in handy. The following…

Celestron StarSense Explorer Dob Review

Celestron StarSense Explorer Dob Review

The Celestron StarSense Explorer Dob is a clever upgrade to a traditional 8″ Dobsonian telescope, thanks to its integrated smartphone app that helps you find objects in the night sky. It’s a visual telescope (not designed for astrophotography), but photos of bright objects like the Moon and planets are possible through the eyepiece.  With 8…

Celestron NexStar 8SE Telescope Review

Celestron NexStar 8SE Telescope Review

The Celestron NexStar 8SE computerized telescope is one of the best-selling telescope packages of all time. It features a large aperture optical telescope and a computerized GoTo mount. The NexStar series of SCTs have been around for over a decade, and I was finally able to experience this beginner-friendly telescope for myself. I was impressed…