Long exposure astrophotgraphy with Nikon DLSR

hawkdl2hawkdl2 Posts: 56Member
edited April 2015 in Nikon DSLR cameras
I'm very happy with my D800 (and before that a D300s and several other Nikons) for daytime photography, but I'm getting more involved in astrophotography and feeling the urge I may have to jump ship (!). Admittedly, much of this feeling comes from reading AP reviews and web sites that are overwhelmingly Canon-centric. Two things make me think Canon may excel over Nikon. Not counting software (Backyard EOS, etc.), a plethora of Canon-centric AP products (i.e. clip in filters, numerous adapter choices, etc.), the big issues are that I plan to modify my AP camera myself and while this is reported to be fairly easy with many Canon cameras, it's also reported to be much more difficult with Nikons, and second, I've read that while Canon shuts off certain electrical systems located near the senor so there is no electrical illumination in long (several minutes) exposures, Nikon does not do this and suffers from that problem.

Does anyone have any first hand experience with these issues that can some shed light?


  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    If you are really serious into astrophotography, you would not use a DSLR at all, but a dedicated AP cam with no filters at all, other than the ones you apply. There are clip-in filters for Nikons, and Canons alike, Nikon just got into the game with the D800a, so I wouldn't count them out, just yet.
    I would strongly suggest having someone modify your camera for you; it's pretty easy to screw up your sensor permanently if you try and remove the filters, and then you have to get it all back together again...
    Lastly, check out this thread:
  • hawkdl2hawkdl2 Posts: 56Member
    Thanks. I agree, I would not spend $3K on any DSLR for AP. If I get good at it, I may get a proper cooled AP mono CCD. In the meantime, I'm referring to common $200 Ebay Canons vs. Nikons (T2i vs, say, a 5100). The Canon is commonly modded for AP and can presumably be readily self-modded. I know very well the risks of self-modding, but $200 isn't much of a risk. I would NOT try to self-mod my D800!
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    go for it, and show us some pics!
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,507Moderator
    edited April 2015
    I take it by astrophotography you do really mean shots of celestial bodies with no terrestrial objects in the foreground? There are common misunderstandings around the name astrophotography, so can you confirm that is what you are thinking of please?

    I can't say that I know of any situation where any general purpose (non-specific AP cam) Canon's IQ is better than my Nikon's (at this moment in time) though, including long exposures (up to 30 sec night time or 250 secs daytime).

    Plenty of people are getting great results with unmodified Nikons as their bodies, it seems the magic is in the processing.
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
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