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.
The Andromeda Galaxy
How to Setup Equipment for Astrophotography
LUNAR & PLANETARY IMAGING
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!
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.
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.
WIDE-FIELD IMAGING WITH A DSLR CAMERA
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.
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.
This highly portable tripod provides solid support for the SkyGuider Pro Mounts, ensuring you maintain optimal stability for quality images.
An essential accessory to this setup, this William Optics Flattener will provide flat-field correction, giving you pinpoint stars across your entire image!
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.
The Milky Way
PLANETARY AND DEEP SPACE IMAGING WITH A DSLR
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!
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.
T-Ring for Canon EOS DSLR cameras, necessary to attach your Canon EOS camera to the T-Adapter.
T-Ring for Nikon DSLR cameras, necessary to attach your Nikon camera to the T-Adapter.
T-Ring for Sony DSLR cameras, necessary to attach your Sony camera to the T-Adapter.
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.