Astrophotography Setup for Beginners

Getting your astrophotography set up for your first astrophotography experience is now easier than ever! Whether you're looking to do planetary and/or deep-sky imaging, you'll need the right telescope and camera setup.

Although each telescope is engineered for a specific type of imaging, any of these telescopes can be used for nebulae, galaxies, planets, and the Moon.

We'll go into the different types of imaging and what is important for each setup with some inspirational images taken by some of us at OPT.

For your convenience, we have selected equipment that is compatible with a DSLR camera or dedicated astronomy camera.

Andromeda Galaxy

The Andromeda Galaxy

How to Setup Equipment for Astrophotography


Getting Started in Astrophotography Tutorial

Meade StarNavigator Next Generation 125 mm Maksutov

The Meade StarNavigator is a powerful beginner telescope yet remains easy to operate and affordable. Equipped with the Meade AudioStar computerized controller, it is extremely easy to locate and track any of the 30,000 celestial objects found in its database... Some of which you will be able to capture quite well!

ZWO ASI 224 Color CMOS Telescope Camera - astrophotography for beginners

ZWO ASI224 Color CMOS Telescope Camera

As one of the best color planetary imaging cameras currently available in this price range, the ZWO ASI 224 Color CMOS camera features a high sensitivity in NIR (Near Infrared) and the possibility for high frame rates, making this CMOS camera an excellent choice for beginner planetary imagers who want nothing but the highest quality.

TPO 2.5X APO Barlow Lens -astrophotography for beginners

TPO 2.5x APO Barlow Lens

This Barlow Lens produces 2.5x magnifying power for your imaging system so you can get a closer view of the object you want to image.

Image of the Moon - Astrophotography for beginners

The Moon


iOptron SkyGuider Pro Camera Mount Full Package - astrophotography setup for beginners

iOptron SkyGuider Pro Camera Mount- Full Package

The iOptron SkyGuider Pro is a top-notch camera tracker and camera mount that boasts high portability and effectiveness. This mount is small enough to fit in your hand and precise enough to track any target. It's virtually silent in operation and rechargeable to boot! The DEC mounting bracket of this camera mount makes it possible to balance a heavy camera with a hefty lens and even grants the potential to mount a light telescope such as the William Optics Zenith Star featured below.

William Optics ZenithStar 61 f/6.9 Doublet Refracting OTA Telescope - beginner astrophotography setups

William Optics ZenithStar 61 f/6.9 Doublet Refracting OTA Telescope

The William Optics ZenithStar 61 mm Doublet APO Refractor is versatile, portable and affordable, while still providing incredibly sharp images using your DSLR of choice! This is effectively used as your camera lens in conjunction with the DSLR adapter below.

iOptron 1.5" Tripod for ZEQ25 & SkyGuider Mounts - astrophotography setups

iOptron 1.5-inch Tripod for ZEQ25 & SkyGuider Mounts

This highly portable tripod provides solid support for the SkyGuider Pro Mounts, ensuring you maintain optimal stability for quality images.

William Optics Flattener for Z61 - astrophotography equipment for beginners

William Optics Flattener for Z61

An essential accessory to this setup, this William Optics Flattener will provide flat-field correction, giving you pinpoint stars across your entire image!

SkyWatcher DSLR M48 Adapter - astrophotography for beginners

Sky-Watcher DSLR M48 Adapters

A DSLR adapter is a necessary component of this setup in order to attach your camera (available for Canon, Nikon and Sony Cameras). Make sure to select the correct one.

Image of Milky Way by Dustin Gibson - how to get started in astrophotography

The Milky Way


Celestron 8" EdgeHD Advanced VX Telescope

Celestron 8-inch EdgeHD Advanced VX Telescope

This telescope was engineered with astro-imaging in mind and sets the standard in beginner to mid-level telescopes on the market. The Celestron 8-inch EdgeHD Advanced VX telescope allows you to track through long exposures and boasts StarLight XLT for incredible image clarity. This telescope also features GoTo technology, creating a fully automated experience including locating and tracking from a database of over 40,000 celestial objects!

Celestron T-Adapter for 8" EdgeHD

Celestron T-Adapter for 8-inch EdgeHD

A T-Adapter allows you to attach your DSLR camera to the prime focus of your telescope. Only one of the three T-Rings below will be necessary. Choose the one for your personal camera brand.

Celestron T-Ring for Canon EOS SLR or DSLR Cameras

Celestron T-Ring for Canon EOS SLR or DSLR Cameras

T-Ring for Canon EOS DSLR cameras, necessary to attach your Canon EOS camera to the T-Adapter.

Celestron Camera T-Ring

Celestron Camera T-Ring - Nikon

T-Ring for Nikon DSLR cameras, necessary to attach your Nikon camera to the T-Adapter.

Bower T-Ring for Sony NEX Mount

Bower T-Ring for Sony NEX Mount

T-Ring for Sony DSLR cameras, necessary to attach your Sony camera to the T-Adapter.

Orion Nebula Hendren - how to get started in astrophotography

The Orion Nebula

No matter which setup you decide on, astrophotography takes patience and practice. Always remember: It's best to be prepared before heading out into the dark for a night of imaging, and a lot of this prep work can be done at home in the palm of your hand.

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