How to take better photos with a DSLR NIGHTSCAPES
You can use a DSLR camera on its own to achieve some great quality, stunning photos of the night sky
Smartphones are great for quick, grab-and-go shots of the night sky, but for larger, more detailed images use a camera with a larger aperture, a wider range of settings and manual control. With a digital single lens UH H[ '6/5 FDPHUD RU D 0,/& 0LUURUOHVV ,QWHUFKDQJHDEOH /HQV &DPHUD \RX FDQ FDSWXUH D PXFK wider range of night-time subjects in better quality. They also have interchangeable lenses, so you can swap to a more powerful lens to close in on bright deep-sky objects.
The imaging chips in these cameras KDYH ZLGH ,62 VHQVLWLYLW\ UDQJHV allowing fainter light from more stars to be recorded for great results. You should also have an option to set the VKXWWHU VSHHG WKH H[SRVXUH LQ increments up to 30 seconds. After that, they’ll have a bulb or ‘B’ setting that keeps the shutter open as long as the release is pressed to achieve HYHQ ORQJHU H[SRVXUHV JUHDW IRU star trails.
DSLRs that suit budding astro LPDJHUV LQFOXGH WKH &DQRQ (26 1200D, 1300D, 750D and 200D models, and the Nikon D5600, D610 and entry-level D3400. Lenswise, the standard DSLR zoom lenses PP IRFDO OHQJWK ZLOO FDSWXUH the main constellations, brighter VHFWLRQV RI WKH 0LON\ :D\ DQG GHWDLO within aurorae. A wide-angle lens ZLWK D IRFDO OHQJWK RI PP ZLOO take in the larger constellations and large auroral displays, and a telephoto lens of 100-500mm focal length will give zoomed-in views of bright stars in asterisms and clusters such as the Hyades.
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enabling more light to get to the sensor. Don’t forget you’ll also need a tripod and a remote shutter release to prevent unwanted camera movement.
To take good nightscape images with these cameras, don’t use their LQ EXLOW DXWRPDWLF H[SRVXUH VHWWLQJV These are useful when imaging in twilight, but when it’s dark the auto routines don't cope well with low light levels. Switch to manual mode VR WKDW \RX FDQ FRQWURO WKH ,62 H[SRVXUH DQG OHQV DSHUWXUH VHWWLQJV
Attach your camera to a tripod and plug in the remote shutter UHOHDVH FDEOH ,I \RX GRQ W KDYH RQH RU \RX FDQ W QG WKH MDFN IRU LW XVH the delay timer. From a moderately dark site, you can get a good picture of a constellation like Leo with a 50mm focal length lens by setting the aperture as wide as it will go I RU HYHQ I WKH ,62 WR DQG WKH H[SRVXUH WR VHFRQGV Finding focus at night can also be tricky: zoom in on your camera’s live-view screen if it has one, or focus on a bright object on the horizon. Remember to switch the autofocus to manual after you’ve achieved a sharp view.
7U\ EUDFNHWLQJ \RXU H[SRVXUHV WDNH D UDQJH RI GLIIHUHQW H[SRVXUH OHQJWKV DW YDULRXV ,62 YDOXHV WR VHH which produces the image with the best overall balance between sky darkness and star brightness. Try H[SRVLQJ IRU YH VHFRQGV HLWKHU VLGH RI WKH LQLWLDO H[SRVXUH RI VHFRQGV
Your essential starter kit: a tripod, camera and shutter release cable
A digital camera will help you to capture the finer details in aurorae
With a long exposure and a wide aperture you can reveal the glory of the Milky Way
It’s perfectly possible to capture great constellation shots – this is Leo – from even a moderately dark site