The Orion Nebula (M42) and Running Man Nebula (M43)
Astrophotography,  Photo Gear

Beginning DSLR Deep Sky Astrophotography – Equipment

What is Deep Sky Astrophotography?  It is photographing deep space objects like nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters.  These objects are very faint or even invisible to the human eye but can create beautiful images when photographed using astrophotography techniques that I will cover in this blog series.

In part 1 of this series, I will begin with the basic equipment.  I decided to focus on equipment first as there is a lot of expensive equipment you can buy for deep sky astrophotography and a ton of information to learn.  I wanted to start with the photography equipment that I already own and make minimal purchases until my knowledge of this genre of photography grew.

My Basic Deep Sky Astrophotography Setup
My Basic Deep Sky Astrophotography Setup

Here is the basic equipment that I’ve been using to learn astrophotography.  I only purchased two pieces of equipment to get started in deep sky astrophotography: a portable equatorial mount and a lens heater.

Basic Astro Photography Equipment
Basic Astro Photography Equipment

I would highly recommend buying a portable equatorial mount. An equatorial mount tracks the earth’s rotation allowing you take longer exposures without star trails. I purchased the Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer and have been happy with the performance of the mount.

For a better understanding of why an equatorial mount is important let’s look at “The 500 Rule”. 

The 500 Rule
The 500 Rule

For Astrophotography, we want to take dozens exposures up to several minutes long to capture these faint deep sky objects.  By tracking the rotation of the earth, an equatorial mount can allow for these longer exposures.

Topaz Labs

So to learn Deep Sky Astrophotography, you don’t need to buy a bunch of expensive equipment.  I spent a total of $420 and have been able to take some quality images and learned a lot about astrophotography in the process.

Stay tuned for my next blog on learning Deep Sky Astrophotography using basic (your existing) photography equipment.

Written by Martin Belan

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