Best Value Astrophotography Setups

Looking for a great astrophotography camera?

First of all, it helps to have a rough idea of what you’d like to shoot. If you’re looking to get beautiful star trails in a landscape shot, you just need a camera with a wide lens, a sturdy tripod, and lots of patience.

On the other hand, if you want to capture Deep Sky Objects (DSO) such as nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters… you’ll need some fancier equipment.

I highly recommend you check out the detailed guides linked at the bottom of the page.

With that said, here are some basic setups:

Cheapest Options

  • Your existing camera: if you already have a digital camera (even if it’s a basic one), you should go ahead and try some night sky photography! It’s free, fun, and you’ll learn a ton about editing.
  • You may have to pick up a sturdy tripod if you don’t have one already. Better to invest in quality here. Benro, Leofoto, Sirui, Manfrotto, Gitzo are all great tripod brands. Look for used deals – massive savings, especially on old school Manfrotto and Gitzo tripods that were made to last.
  • Canon T3i (600D): this little 18 megapixel camera ($15o used) is still a great choice for starting out. You can use the included 18-55mm kit lens, or splurge for a Rokinon 14mm F2.8 ED IF manual focus lens ($150 used). Total: $300 used (not including cost of a tripod).

Minimalist Star Tracker

  • Canon T3i (600D): $150 used.
  • Samyang 135mm F2.0 ED UMC lens (for Canon): $450
  • Sturdy tripod: $150-250 (Sirui, Benro, Leofoto – can’t go wrong with these brands on a budget)
  • Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Pro: motorized tracker. $350 used.

Total: $1,200. This is an affordable setup that will get you high quality results, as long as you are willing to put in the time to learn proper polar alignment, stacking, image processing etc.

Tip: you can use Siril for stacking and Affinity Photo for image processing.

Advanced Setups

Astrophotography can get very complicated – and very, very expensive.

For specific gear questions and advice, best to just ask the more experienced photographers on Reddit’s AskAstrophotography.

More information:

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