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

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…

William Optics RedCat 61

William Optics RedCat 61

William Optics has introduced their third variation of the original RedCat Petzval Astrograph, the William Optics RedCat 61. It’s small, it’s mighty, and it’s REDDER than ever. There’s also a huge change to this version of the RedCat when compared to the RedCat 51 and RedCat 71. Like most reviews/first lights, I do my best…

ZWO AM5 Full Review

ZWO AM5 Full Review

The ZWO AM5 is the astrophotography mount I didn’t think I needed. Yes, it perfectly matches the color of my existing ZWO cameras (and ASIAIR Plus), but do I really need a tracking telescope mount that doesn’t require a counterweight? I have casually observed a number of harmonic drive telescope mounts appear in the astrophotography…

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…

My Latest Portable Astrophotography Build

My Latest Portable Astrophotography Build

Are you looking to build a full-featured (GoTo, autoguiding, etc.) portable astrophotography rig for this summer? If so, I think I have found the perfect “template” to follow (with plenty of room for substitutions, of course). The major difference between this setup and the portable rigs I’ve shared on this site before is that this one…

Building a Deep Sky Astrophotography Kit

Building a Deep Sky Astrophotography Kit

I am often asked for my opinion on the best route to take when it comes to building a deep-sky astrophotography kit for the first time. A popular option for many night sky enthusiasts is to start with a DSLR camera and telescope, and I can understand why. Building a budget-friendly astrophotography setup that revolves…

Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer GTi Review

Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer GTi Review

The Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer GTi is a highly portable star tracker that was designed for astrophotography. It allows you to take long-exposure images of space by tracking the apparent movement of the night sky. Unlike the original Star Adventurer, the GTi model also has the ability to find deep-sky objects in the night sky using…