Whether you’re a novice photographer with a passion for space or an expert astronomer, having the right gear to investigate the night sky is essential. Imagine spending hours perched on a hillside with a camera pointed upward, only to discover that your photos have captured black space with a few white dots – not very inspiring is it?
Fortunately, modern cameras have the ability to capture the beauty of our galaxy – the trick is finding the right one for you. We’ve put together everything you need to know, all in one place. Below is a comparison overview of the top five cameras that we consider to be the best suited for astrophotography.
[amazon box=”B00HQ4W1QE,B00IDUNW72,B00LAJQVR6,B00THKEKEQ,B00IB1BTWI” template=”table”]
The Absolute Best Astrophotography Camera On The Market!
Through countless hours of first-hand experience, the best camera for astrophotography to be the Nikon D3300 DSLR Camera. Out of all the mid-level DSLR cameras, the Nikon D3300 boasts the best picture and video quality, thanks to its 24.2-megapixel camera and 1080p HD recording capabilities.
Great for novices, the features are easy to use with no serious photography expertise is required. With that being said, the D3300 has plenty of features to allow the more camera-savvy users to make the most of, including an all-new AF-S DX NIKKOR lens that is capable of zooming into small objects extremely well, without a loss of picture quality. The last time we checked, the stars are pretty far away, so this feature is more than welcomed.
The D3300 is extremely light for such a powerful camera, and it also comes with its own carry case if you decide to purchase the bundle pack, which we highly recommend that you do. Not only will you receive a carry case, you will also receive additional storage space, a wireless adapter to automatically sync your images to your phone or laptop, wide action lenses and a bunch of other cool goodies.
Our Final Verdict…
The Nikon D3300 is great for both beginners and more advanced astrophotographers alike. It’s lightweight, compact and takes pictures that are incredibly clear. Whether you are interested in point and shoot photography, video recording or even wide-angled panoramic photography, you will not be disappointed with this one.
The Second Best DSLR for Astrophotography On The Market
DSLR cameras are popular for astrophotography because they offer complete control over essential features such as aperture, shutter speeds, and ISO. We found that the best digital camera for astrophotography in this category is the Nikon D5300 because of its outstanding image quality, fast shutter speed, and a new, high-pixel screen.
One of the coolest features of the D5300 is the fact that it has Wi-Fi capabilities already built-in to the camera, allowing you to instantly share your snaps to your smartphone for safe storage and more detailed inspection. On top of that, the D5300 also has a built-in GPS system, which will come in handy when trying to find the more specific, tucked away locations that are perfect for astrophotography.
Its superb low-light performance is practically made for snapping shots of the night sky. And with the wireless remote control feature and improved video processing, you’ll find that it’s definitely worth the price.
Our Final verdict…
The Nikon D5300 is a great camera for any form of photography. It produces sharp and bright images you’ll want to show off to friends and family. Nikon is one of the most popular and well-respected brands when it comes to DSLR cameras, so you know you are getting a quality product when you purchase one from them.
Overall, the built-in Wi-Fi and GPS system as well as the superb picture quality is what made us crown the 5300D the best DSLR for astrophotography. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, or a seasoned professional, we guarantee that you will be pleased with this camera.
The Third Best Camera For Star Photography
Next on our list we have a camera for the professionals. For the veterans. For the most dedicated stargazers. It’s not a cheap camera by any means, so if you are looking for a cheap, budget-friendly camera, this one isn’t for you. However, if you are looking for a top of the range DSLR that will take your star photography to the next level, you should definitely be considering the D810.
What surprised us the most with this camera is its unbelievable zoom capabilities. Perfect for closing in on specific stars and planets without losing too much image quality. If you prefer wide-angled, panoramic photography of the stars, don’t worry, the D810 is capable of that too, with pristine image sharpness and definition.
Unfortunately, the D810 does not have built-in Wi-Fi, but that’s not what this camera is about. It’s not built for beginners, or casual photographers who need convenience and easy-to-use features. It’s built for the professionals and the hobbyists who need a camera that does its job, and it does its job extremely well.
If you are in the astrophotography game to snap close-up pictures of the stars, consider the Nikon D810 as your next DSLR camera of choice. We found that this camera tops its former models, so if you’re looking to upgrade you’ll be pleased with your purchase. With fast and accurate focus, it is almost guaranteed to produce stellar, sharp photos.
Our Final Verdict…
If you’re a professional photographer or a novice willing to learn the ropes, the Nikon D810 is a great fit. We discovered that when considering a Nikon, it is worth the additional cost to purchase the latest D810 compared with its earlier models, as the increase in quality and features are well worth the increased price.
The Best CCD Camera for Astrophotography
Researching astrophotography CCD camera reviews? Look no further, because we’ve found the top of the line when it comes to CCD cameras. The Nikon Coolpix L340 is affordable, easy to use, and offers great resolution. Though perhaps not the ideal camera for a professional photographer, it is well suited for those seeking a new hobby.
The 20.2-megapixel camera combined with the 28x optical zoom are more than capable of capturing high quality photos of the stars and the planets around them. The quality will not be NASA worthy, as you can expect, but the sharpness and the detail will still be considerably better than all other CCD cameras at this price point.
If you are interested in shooting videos, the L340 can do that also. Although it’s not going to be shooting in full 1080p HD, the 720p resolution is more than sufficient for shooting decent quality videos. If you are uploading videos to YouTube for fun, or simply want to build a portfolio of astrophotography photos and videos, it’s more than sufficient.
In terms of storage, the Coolpix CCD utilizes external SD cards, so the amount of storage is dependent upon the size of SD card you use. We have found that an 8GB SD card is more than enough space for the beginner photographer.
Our Final Verdict…
If you’re looking for a starter camera, the Nikon Coolpix L340 might just be the right one for you. With its basic functionality and usage of standard SD memory cards and batteries, it is a compact camera that is a great bargain for the price.
It gives the best bang for your buck, and is a solid choice for those just starting out. Budget conscious buyers, this is the one for you.
The Fifth Best DSLR Camera for Astrophotography
When you’re looking for a good camera for astrophotography, a DSLR is a great choice. From the testing that we conducted, we found that the best astrophotography DSLR is the Canon EOS Rebel T5.
Suitable for beginning astrophotographers, this camera offers good quality for a good price. The reason we have branded this camera as ‘beginner friendly’ is not because it’s an inferior camera, but because it’s easy to use, and doesn’t have any steep learning curve like a lot of the higher end models.
This ease-of-use does not take anything away from its abilities, though. The Rebel T5 is still a fantastic DSLR camera with professional grade parts. The photos we managed to shoot with this thing were extremely balanced with no dark or light areas, the colors were vivid and the zoom works like a dream.
The 3-inch LCD TFT color monitor makes it easy to view and share photos. Additional features include continuous shooting, creative filers, and a built-in flash.
Our Final Verdict…
As a starter camera, the Canon EOS Rebel T5 is great for amateurs of any age. If you need a DSLR camera for astrophotography that is easy to use, but has the capabilities of producing high-resolution images, then this would be our best recommendation to you.
It may not be equipped with all of the bells and whistles that you will find on more expensive cameras such as the D810, but as a beginner, you probably don’t need that stuff anyway. If you want a brilliant camera that works well straight out of the box, here it is.
The right camera will depend on your own personal preference—and budget. Typically, Nikon and Canon brands are well known and affordable. The good news is that there are many great cameras to choose from—especially from the five we reviewed here. Think we missed something? Let us know—we would love to hear from you!
Things to Consider When Purchasing a New Camera:
After reviewing our top five cameras for astrophotography, you’re closer to making the right purchase for you. First, though, you’ll need to ask yourself a few more questions. What kind of photos do you want to take? How do you plan on using them? Once you hone in on your purpose, you can make a more informed decision about which camera you want.
Here are a few features to watch out for while you take a deeper look into individual cameras.
- Choosing the right lens: The lens can make all the difference. Because there’s little light when you’re shooting astrophotography, the best lens will have a large aperture (F/2.8 or bigger). There are a variety of different lenses with large apertures. To determine the right one for you, consider what you want to shoot—expansive photos of the night sky or zoomed photos of various planets? This information will help you determine other attributes such as zoom abilities and lens speed.
- DSLR or CCD: Both come with their advantages. For example, DSLR cameras are easy to use and more portable, and CCD cameras offer active cooling and higher sensitivity. Consider whether you’re going to be on the move and need a basic camera without a steep learning curve, or whether you want a camera with the more complex capabilities of CCD.
- Resolution: When choosing a camera, how important is resolution? This might come into consideration when you’re thinking about what you want to do with your photos. Do you want to print them for wall art or use them digitally? Related to this topic is pixel level. Before purchasing a camera, take a look at the pixel level of the photos the camera produces and what that means for resolution.
- Battery Capacity: The last thing you want when you’re on a remote hillside shooting the stars is for your camera to run out of battery life. Some cameras hold battery longer than others, and some are dependent on settings. Consider how long you plan to use the camera each time, and whether you’ll have the opportunity to charge it frequently.
Shared under Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Paul Stewart – https://flic.kr/p/HTC5C3
David DeHetre – https://flic.kr/p/7LAxJd
Anthony Anastas – https://flic.kr/p/SpHAEh
Cody – https://flic.kr/p/nQRcM