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Camera Adapters for Telescopes and How to Use Them

Halley’s comet, the “periodic” comet, last visited us in 1986 and only comes around every 75 years. That’s definitely the kind of event you would want to take a picture to remember! Telescopes are a great way to see things far away, but they rarely include camera equipment for snapshots or video. Camera adapters for telescopes let you take pictures or video of what you see with your telescope.

There are many different types of camera adapters for telescopes out there, and thus much to consider. The first thing to consider is your standard visual connection or potentially something non-standard. Using that, you can use a variety of adapters to connect your telescope camera to your camera. Next, also think about what kind of adapter you need for your particular camera—the most common type of adapter for most cameras is a threaded 1.25-inch to 3/8-inch mount. Finally, don’t forget about the weight. You don’t want to add too much weight to your camera, but you also don’t want a light-duty adapter that allows your telescope to vibrate too much.

Keep reading below to learn more about how cameras attach to telescopes and the different types of camera adapters available on the market.

Connection via T-Ring

Telescopes can work as cameras in a variety of ways. The most common way is to use the telescope as a camera lens. This is done by attaching a t-ring adapter to the telescope and then attaching an SLR camera to the t-ring adapter. The t-ring adapter has two sections, one that attaches to the telescope and one that attaches to the camera lens.

The telescope section is threaded so it can screw onto your eyepiece or finder scope and hold it securely in place. The camera section has a male thread, so it can attach directly to your SLR lens or DSLR body. Attaching the adapter is accomplished by unscrewing the telescope section, placing it over the camera lens, and screwing it back into place while holding onto both sections of the adapter.

Best Known Adapters

Telescopic lens adapters can be used to attach cameras to telescopes, so they can take high-quality photos or videos through the telescope's lens. There are different kinds of telescopic lens adapters available on the market, and each one is designed for a specific purpose or type of telescope camera. For example:

  • The M42 to MC or M49 lens adapter is a standard lens for most large telescopes. It is designed for use on telescopes that have an M42-threaded mount, like the Celestron C5 series of telescopes.
  • The T2 to T-mount lens adapter connects a Leitz T2 or an Olympus OM optical tube directly to a modern digital camera with a T-mount on its sensor. This type of adapter allows you to take high-quality photos with a digital camera that is not directly compatible with traditional telescope mounts.

Adapters safely connect an SLR camera to your telescope and can help you achieve the correct back focus for your imaging system. These adapters range from t-rings and telescope t adapters to telescope camera mounts and even SLR camera adapters. Some can even mount your mobile phone to a telescope.