Which camera is best for deep sky astrophotography?
The short answer: any of the latest cooled astronomy cameras are going to perform very well for deep sky astrophotography, but the right camera depends on what you’re trying to image, your budget, and what equipment you may already own.
The long answer: finding the right cooled astronomy camera for your setup will depend on a few different factors. These factors include:
- Whether you plan to image in color (beginner) or monochrome (advanced)
- What size image circle your telescope/corrector can cover, which will determine the largest sensor diagonal you can use
- What your pixel scale will be at your telescope’s focal length
- What your budget is
If you need help figuring out the answers to the above, our Sales team is always ready to assist you and recommend the right camera for your setup and needs. Click Here to Contact Us.
Which camera is better for deep sky imaging, a color or monochrome camera?
From a purely technical standpoint, monochrome cameras are inherently better than color cameras due to their sensor design. We'll save the "why" for a future blog post, but monochrome cameras produce a cleaner and slightly sharper image than color cameras can. However, monochrome cameras are more expensive, and they require a filter wheel/drawer plus costly filters to produce a color image.
Color cameras, on the other hand, can produce color images right out of the box. Although monochrome cameras still have the upper edge, color camera technology and astronomy filters have gotten so good in recent years that it can be difficult to tell the difference between two images made from each camera type.
If you're just beginning astrophotography, we recommend starting off with a color camera. If you're already an experienced astrophotographer, consider upgrading to a monochrome CMOS or CCD camera.
How do I attach a camera to my telescope?
This depends on which kind of camera you're using. Here are a few of the most common cameras and ways to attach them:
- Smartphone: smartphone adapter to attach to an eyepiece
- DSLR/Mirrorless with APS-C/smaller sensor: T-Ring for your camera make
- DSLR/Mirrorless with Full Frame sensor: wide/M48 T-ring for your camera make
- Most Astronomy Cameras: Usually attach via included adapters
- Mini Planetary Cameras: Usually slide in to 1.25" ports
If you still need assistance figuring out how to attach your camera, we're here to help!
Which is better for deep sky astrophotography, a DSLR or Dedicated Astronomy Camera?
Dedicated astronomy cameras with cooling will be able to outperform DSLR/Mirrorless cameras because they can keep the sensor cool over long exposures, which is critical for keeping noise levels low. This helps capture those extremely faint details that make deep sky images really come to life. However, unlike DSLR/Mirrorless cameras, dedicated astronomy cameras do not have a screen or a built-in battery, meaning you need a computer of some kind and a power source to take images.
What's the difference between CMOS and CCD cameras?
Although CMOS and CCD sensor cameras are quite different, they also share a lot of similarities. For one, they're both digital camera sensors, and both can produce fantastic images for astrophotography. While CCDs used to reign supreme in astrophotography in years past and still hold a slight edge, CMOS cameras have been catching up rapidly. To most amateurs, though, it can be hard to tell a difference between images when compared side by side. The bottom line is this: if you're doing planetary imaging or deep sky imaging for your own enjoyment, most astrophotographers go with a CMOS camera. If you're using the camera to take scientific measurements for an institution, you may want to consider a CCD camera.